DIY Book Trailers Part 2

Way back in early March I blogged about how to make your own book trailers, using my Invisible Fiends: Mr Mumbles trailer as an example. I promised then that I’d do a follow-up post on how I put my Book of Doom trailer together, and this here be that very post in question.

First up, let’s remind ourselves what the trailer’s like.

OK, now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about how I put it all together.

If you’ve read my how-to guide on how I made the Mr Mumbles trailer you’ll know it involved some dressing up and sourcing props on my part. For The Book of Doom trailer there was none of that. I literally made the whole thing without leaving my desk.

On the other hand, the Mr Mumbles trailer cost me nothing to make, while the trailer for The Book of Doom cost me actual real life money – albeit less than ten crisp British pounds – so laziness comes at a cost. Quite a low cost, though, and if I can pony up a tenner towards the production budget, I’m fairly sure you’ll be able to, too.

For the purposes of this guide I’m going to assume you have access to some sort of video editing equipment and have at least a basic grasp of how to use it. If not, don’t worry, you can find loads of free editing software online (here for example), and one of the best ways of learning to use anything is by using it, so pick your poison and get editing.

As with any project it’s important to have at least a vague idea at the start of what you’re hoping to achieve. With video, the more precise you can be at the planning stage, the less time and effort you’re going to have to invest in getting it right, and the cheaper it’s going to be.

I had a very specific idea in my head of how I wanted my trailer to look. I knew I wanted a voiceover reading a passage from the novel that describes the central concept. I also knew I wanted to reflect the fact the story takes the main characters from Heaven to Hell.

More importantly, I wanted to give a feel for the story. Not the specifics, necessarily, but the style and genre. I wanted it to have a bit of a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy sort of feel to it. Oh, and I also wanted fire in there somewhere, because fire always looks exciting, dunnit?

So, armed with this list of requirements, I headed over to the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is Fiverr.com.

For those of you who don’t know, Fiverr.com is a website full of people who will do pretty much anything you want (within legal limits) for five dollars. Want your picture inserted into a scene from The Cosby Show? No problem. Want to be taught two different ways to fly? Consider it done.

You get the idea.

Hidden in among all the madness, though, are some real gems. It was on Fiverr that I found my voiceover guy, Jonathan Keith. Jonathan absolutely nailed the voiceover, and was worth several dozen times the £3.30 or thereabouts that he cost me.

I’d gone onto the site specifically looking for someone to do the voiceover, but once there I started wandering through the Video & Animation section. It was here I found people selling the footage that eventually made up the bulk of the video – the swooshing through darkened clouds with all the text, and the flaming Book of Doom logo at the very end of the trailer. Again, these cost me just over three quid each, and already my video was beginning to take shape.

The blue sky/flying through clouds bit at the start of the video had been sitting on my hard drive pretty much forever. It was something I’d paid two or three quid for a couple of years back, planning to use it for something else I’ve long since forgotten about.

With that added to my asset list there was just one thing left to get: music. After a couple of hours of searching around for some cheap royalty free music I stumbled upon something even better – FREE royalty free music from composer Kevin MacLeod.

Kevin has some amazing tracks on his site, and the Soundtrack section proved particularly useful for my needs. Whatever sort of book trailer you’re making, there’s a good chance there’ll be music on there that will fit with what you’re trying to do.

In Summary
All things considered, this was not a difficult trailer to make, and I think it looks reasonably professional. Like all artistic endeavours there’s always scope for improvement. I think it’s a little on the long side, for example, and would’ve benefitted from a bit of judicious trimming here and there. It’s not terrible, though, and considering how little it cost and how quickly it was put together, that’s a victory in itself.

I hope this has helped inspire you to try putting your own book trailer together. If you’ve done one, pop a link in the comments below so we can all take a look.

About Barry

Barry is an award-winning children's author and screenwriter. His new book, THE SHARK-HEADED BEAR-THING is published by Nosy Crow.